But which BIT of big business gets its way in which circumstances, eh?

The State is merely the committee for managing the affairs of the bourgeoisie, innit?  The evil moustache-twirling CEOs get together and tell their political meat-puppet underlings what to do.  Simples.

Well, sometimes, but every so often maybe it is more complicated.  I’m collecting examples of these every-so-often moments for my PhD thesis.  I have quite a nice collection, especially from the years 1996-2007, when little Johnnie Howard was a staunch and effective opponent of climate action.

Here’s a new example, from a Marian Wilkinson 2007 article..

But [Hugh] Morgan’s real success was not in the propaganda war but in the boardroom. In 2000 the Business Council of Australia was struggling to come to grips with the challenge of climate change. [Paul] Anderson, then chief executive of BHP and a key member of the council, called a meeting of the leading business players to discuss their response.

“I held a party and nobody came,” he says. “They sent some low-level people that almost read from things that had been given to them by their lawyers. Things like, ‘Our company does not acknowledge that carbon dioxide is an issue and, if it is, we’re not the cause of it and we wouldn’t admit to it anyway.’”

While Anderson was no fan of the Kyoto agreement, he was convinced climate change was real and BHP should get out in front on the issue. He believed the solution was a carbon tax that would put a cost on greenhouse gas pollution to force down emissions.

Wilkinson, M. 2007. Delayed reaction. Sydney Morning Herald, 24 March.  Reprinted in Jones, T. (ed). 2008.The Best Australian Political Writing 2008.  Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. Pp.155-163.

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